The Student Guide to Playwriting | Winner’s Blog #1
The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winners are busy at work on their winners’ play, which will be performed on Playwriting Day at London Writers Week on 5 July and published by Oberon Books.
Inspired by the theme of the competition, the winners’ play will be on the theme of what it means to be a student in the UK today – with funding changes, a decline in student numbers studying drama, the cancellation of the A level in creative writing and a debate about EBACC and whether it should include creative subjects scheduled for July 4th in parliament, it felt like an important subject.
Here’s our first winner’s interview with Titilola Ige, joint university winner.
Can you tell us about who you are?
I am a Nigerian-born British playwright. I started my career at GMTV which lead me to then working with an organisation making documentaries with young people. Throughout all of this I have written for young people and have worked within the community putting on plays and productions for young people. I currently work a youth charity in Croydon and I am working with Soho Theatre and nitroBEAT as an assistant producer.
Why did you follow the lesson plans and enter The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting?
The lessons plans as well as studying for an MA in Dramatic Writing enabled me to learn more about my craft. It reinforced what I was learning on my MA Dramatic Writing course. I entered the competition hoping to win, obviously, as I wanted more exposure for myself as a writer.
What does winning The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting mean to you?
It was important for me to win The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting award as I had followed the advice given in the MA course which were also in the lesson plans and made sure my play Down Hair was structured well. The play that I submitted was one that I had been working on for some time and it meant a lot to me that it won.
The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting is about studying playwriting (via the lesson plans), why do you think studying’s important?
I believe studying is important because it allows you to learn the foundations on which to build upon. Also, it widens your networks and helps you to build relationships with people within the industry in which you are studying.
What do you think being a student or emerging artist in playwriting in the UK means today?
Many people are writers and did not go down the route of studying. For me, it was important that I learnt more about the industry. I believe that I already had something in me to be a writer, what I wanted to learn was, as I said, the industry. I have been able to meet professional writers, theatre makers and artistic directors. Being a student or emerging artist in playwriting in the UK today means going that extra mile to be in the right place and speak with the right people. I feel you have to have something more about you; you cannot rely on talent alone.
What do you think students and emerging artists in playwriting need?
To be brave. Put yourself out there, ask for a coffee and get advice. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and be interesting. Learn to hold yourself in a room and know that you may not have the most experience, but you have something interesting to say – about yourself, the world around you and not just to go on about your writing.
What are your top tips for other emerging playwrights?
1. Be interesting. Be more than just your writing. Know what’s going on in the world (it’ll reflect in your writing as well)
2. Watch plays, read books, watch films, have conversations and discussions. Don’t be a hermit.
3. Enter competitions.
4. Collaborate with other people and put on work. Even if it’s scratch nights. This will help you be creative and empower yourself if nothing is happening. Make work in abandoned council estates. Be imaginative. Then put it on social media platforms, YouTubes, etc.
5. Keep writing. Write monologues, short and long plays.
8. What inspires you?
Other plays and different types of theatre inspire me. The stories other people are telling helps me to push myself.
Many thanks and congratulations to The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winner Titilola Ige! To find out more about The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting Day and to book your free tickets click here.